Man Sentenced to Nine Years and Seven Months for Defrauding Orange County Investors in Scheme to Manufacture Pain Relieving Back Brace
A Las Vegas man who was convicted at trial for defrauding investors in a scheme involving the sale and manufacture of a back brace device called the “Gorillaback” was sentenced late Monday to nine years and seven months in federal prison, announced Stephanie Yonekura, the Acting United States Attorney, and David Bowdich, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.
The Honorable James Selna sentenced Jonathan Glen Turner, 40, to 115 months in prison. Judge Selna also ordered Turner to pay restitution in the amount of $229,500.
At the conclusion of a three week trial that took place in August 2013 in United States District Court in Santa Ana, a jury found Turner guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of committing a felony while on pre-trial release. Turner represented himself at trial.
In March 2011, while free on bail after being charged in a separate investment scheme investigated by the FBI, Turner befriended a Las Vegas chiropractor who had invented the Gorillaback device. Turner advised the inventor that he had been in the sales business and could sell the Gorillaback product. Turner, the chiropractor, and the chiropractor’s wife then formed a company (Products International) to manufacture and sell the device.
Evidence in the case indicated that Turner did not make an effort to sell the device but, instead, created fraudulent purchase orders from various entities to create the false impression that more than 10,000 products had already been ordered and sold. The investors relied on these documents, believing them to be legitimate. Turner concealed from the victims the fact that he did not have the device manufactured and that there were no actual buyers. Turner also misrepresented to the couple that he had a friend in Los Angeles who could manufacture the device.
Turner persuaded the victims to obtain investment money from their family and friends to have the pre-sold devices manufactured. Between March 2011 and January 2012, five Orange County victims invested a total of approximately $232,500 to have the devices manufactured.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that, through a series of misrepresentations, Turner caused investors’ money to be transferred to bank accounts under his control. Turner withdrew funds for his personal use in a series of cash withdrawals. The fraudulent activity was reported to the FBI in 2012 and Turner was arrested in April 2012.
While conducting the purchase order scheme involving the Gorillaback device, Turner was free on bail in connection with charges stemming from a similar scheme for which he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana in 2009. In that case, numerous victims invested totaling losses in the amount of $2.6 million. Turner went to trial in that case in October 2012 and was convicted by a jury of two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. In May 2014, Turner received a sentence of seven years in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution (http://www.fbi.gov/losangeles/press-releases/2014/las-vegas-man-sentenced-to-more-than-seven-years-in-fraud-scheme-that-caused-orange-county-victims-to-lose-more-than-1-million).
Turner will begin serving the sentence he received yesterday at the conclusion of the seven-year sentence he is currently serving.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Turner was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Orange County, in the Central District of California.